Cloud Computing – A Look Back to Basics

Cloud Computing

There has been much talk about the cloud and about how it can help businesses and how cloud computing is one of the top technologies of the future.  Although, at this point it is probably more appropriate to say cloud computing is the present and the future.  But starting with the name, cloud computing, and also looking at the vast majority of articles written about the cloud, one may think that it is an incorporeal thing, floating out there somewhere and providing services. The truth is, cloud computing as it is today has been made possible by technological advances in the data center industry.  Yes, data center, a term slightly less glamorous than cloud computing, that lays at the foundation of cloud computing.

The infrastructure serving the cloud may not be glamorous, but it is, nonetheless, essential.  There are a few key issues the infrastructure underlying the cloud has to provide for: scalability, flexibility, reliability, virtualization, and security.

And at the basis of it all is data storage and how fast it can be  accessed and how reliable it is. That makes technological advanced SSDs (solid-state drives) essential for the infrastructure enabling the cloud and the quality of the services provided.

Cloud computing requires not only a sizable storage capability but also very fast access.  In addition, the SSDs need to show great reliability and prove some green credentials as well.  Consuming less energy is a must these days, not only to save the planet but also to save money. The evolution of the SSDs, which unlike HDDs contain no moving parts, in addition to better SSD management software, is, in my belief, a crucial game changer  in the future of the cloud.

For example, earlier this year, a series of articles have been written about how IBM and HP together with Violin Memory have moved the benchmarks in storage capabilities.  This is the type of technological innovation that moves the barriers of what computing, but particularly cloud computing, can achieve.

I believe 2012 will be a very exciting year for all of us interested in the cloud.  All over the world, from China to the Amazon, massive data centers for the cloud are being built, incorporating unbelievable new technologies.  They said that the IBM/Violin system was able to scan 10 billion files in 43 minutes.  I look forward to seeing even more amazing things in the future.

By Rick Blaisdell

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